The White House says if Congress sends him a bill to extend tax cuts for everyone -- even households making more than $250,000 a year -- President Barack Obama wouldn't sign it.

Obama today urged lawmakers to extend the cuts for those making less than that amount, instead of holding them "hostage," as he put it, to the continuing debate over extending tax cuts for wealthier Americans. As he spoke at the White House, he was flanked by a dozen people the White House said would benefit from the extension of the cut for middle-class Americans.

Republicans are rejecting his call for a partial extension. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell says, "No one should see an income tax hike next year."

Mitt Romney also supports extending the cuts for all income earners. A spokeswoman for Romney's campaign says Obama's plan to let the cuts expire for the highest earners amounts to a "massive tax increase."

Democrats see the tax debate as part of a larger coordinated attack on Romney -- including calls for him to explain offshore bank accounts and release several years of tax returns.

Romney's people say the Democratic attacks on Romney's wealth are an "unfounded character assault."


(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)